17 March 1997

The Lawyer

  • A wasted resource

    18-Mar-1997

    Mrs Justice Arden, chair of the Law Commission, has some sharp comments about the large number of commission reports which have not been implemented by the Government in the past 15 years. Some 20 reports have not seen the light of day in terms of legislation and these figures do not include reports the government has rejected.Rightly, she points out, the public does not get the benefit of the commission's work until Parliament implements it. One ...

  • Aborigines' legal group bites the dust

    18-Mar-1997

    The Australian Supreme Court has ordered the closure of the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS), a pioneering group dedicated to representing aborigines which was equipped with solicitors to defend them in civil and criminal cases.The ALS, which was set up 25 years ago and run by aborigines, was ironically shot in the foot by aborigines themselves. Thirty-two former employees brought the ALS to court claiming it had not paid them.Peter Somerset, an aborigine lawyer ...

  • Accounts Committee queries Linklaters' £13m rail bonanza

    18-Mar-1997

    The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has criticised the Government for the way it paid Linklaters & Paines more than £13m for advice on the sale of the first three rail franchises.The report criticises the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising, Opraf, for not using a competitive tender to choose Linklaters and for not setting a cap on the fees of its advisers.It ...

  • Accused terrorist to appeal

    18-Mar-1997

    Law Lords in Northern Ireland have given an Irish man detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act leave to appeal. Charles Begley claims police wrongly refused to allow his solicitor to attend interviews the police had with him. Begley was detained under s.14 of the 1989 Act on suspicion of involvement in the murder of a leading member of a proscribed organisation. His appeal centres on whether a person arrested under the Act has a right at common law to be accompanied by his solicitor ...

  • AEL goes east as it forges links with Polish practice

    18-Mar-1997

    The Alliance of European Lawyers (AEL) has expanded eastward to Warsaw by signing an "agreement of co-operation" with leading local practice Consultor.Consultor, one of the largest firms in Poland, was established in 1985 by law lecturers from Warsaw University. It has since become a leading provider of legal and tax services to domestic and foreign clients and has worked on several transactions instrumental in the transformation of the Polish economy.The firm ...

  • Ancient canal act rocks the boat

    18-Mar-1997

    A new Appeal Court ruling has caused major ripples on the waters of Britain's canals. While raising the hopes of owners of hundreds of miles of canal banks, it has dismayed the British Waterways Board (BWB).The ruling, albeit interlocutory, is viewed as important as far as the rights of owners of land flanking the Grand Union Canal are concerned when it comes to developing their land.BWB's counsel told the Appeal Court that the decision ...

  • Another set on practice manager path

    18-Mar-1997

    Planning and local government Chambers 2 Mitre Court Buildings, headed by Michael FitzGerald QC, is the latest leading set to appoint a practice manager.William Bale, a former partnership secretary with Middlesex solicitors Turberville Woodbridge, was selected from several hundred candidates.Senior clerk Robert Woods helped draw up Bale's job description as part of the set's careful preparation to avoid any potential conflicts.

  • Barbara Hewson explains a landmark paternity decision.

    18-Mar-1997

    Barbara Hewson is a barrister at 12 Gray's Inn Square.A landmark ruling by Judge Wilson in the Family Division on 19 February 1997 adds a new twist to the relationship between the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and EU law.In U v W, the court was asked to make a declaration of paternity over twins born as a result of donor sperm treatment given to a couple by a fertility clinic in another EU member state. U was the mother; W, her partner ...

  • Bingham attack strikes chord

    18-Mar-1997

    The legal profession has backed Lord Bingham's scathing attack on the Home Secretary's proposed review of the criminal justice system, saying his remarks strike a chord with practitioners and are "extremely welcome".The Lord Chief Justice last week condemned the current politicisation of reform of the criminal justice system. He also criticised the lack of consultation prior to the recent publication of the report on delays in the criminal justice system set up ...

  • British law firms fail to cash in on Easdaq listings work

    18-Mar-1997

    UK law firms are losing out on valuable work preparing companies for listing on Easdaq, the new European electronic stock exchange, according to a leading UK stock broker in the market.Nick Rogers, corporate finance director at Beeson Gregory which has shares in Easdaq, was speaking to The Lawyer after UK company Esprit Telecom Group listed jointly on Easdaq and Nasdaq, raising around $57m.The listing rules for Easdaq, which was launched in December 1996, are ...

  • Call for tighter control of police interception powers

    18-Mar-1997

    A GOVERNMENT minister's comment that legally privileged material should not normally be intercepted by the police has prompted a renewed bid by the Law Society to secure a tightening up of the Police Bill.As the Bill stands, a chief police officer can authorise interception of material covered by legal professional privilege so long as prior consent is obtained from a commissioner. Prior consent is not needed in an emergency.But at committee stage in the ...

  • Clifford Chance denies conflict of interest charge

    18-Mar-1997

    Clifford Chance's position as one of the top advisers on international debt issues has coincided with criticism from the underwriters' trade association regarding alleged conflicts of interest over a bond deal.A survey of the firms advising on medium term notes (MTNs), published by the International Financial Law Review, shows Clifford Chance as advising most managers of the ...

  • Commercial Bar directory proves an overseas bestseller

    18-Mar-1997

    MANY of the 3,793 copies of the 1997 edition of The Commercial Bar Association Directory are being distributed abroad, underlining its international popularity.Around 850 copies of the 176-page booklet are destined for continental Europe, 200 for the Far East and 600 to other overseas destinations.Seventy-five copies of the directory have even been printed in Arabic.Commercial Bar chair John Jarvis QC said the large number of letters ...

  • Commission calls for 'fast-track' Bill implementation

    18-Mar-1997

    Mrs Justice Arden, the chair of the Law Commission, has called for the creation of a fast-track procedure for implementing the commission's reports.Speaking on the publication of its annual report for 1996, the judge expressed frustration that several reports had not been implemented, either because of Government delays in responding to them or because of delays bringing the legislation before Parliament."Delays in implementation continue to haunt us. We ...

  • Dirty laundry in public

    18-Mar-1997

    I read with interest the letter from David McIntosh in your issue of 25 February.There is a world of difference between accepting certain basic principles on the one hand and, on the other, apparently deliberately making attempts, in a public forum, to lay stress on practices, whether they are common or not, which are more likely to fix themselves in the minds of the public than are the many good practices which firms of solicitors employ.

  • Goats to be heard in court

    18-Mar-1997

    Goats are set to take centre stage at the High Court in an action which is pending. Kent goat farmers William and Maureen Browning are taking Sheila Gilham of West Sussex to court over a herd of 135 goats they bought from her and her late husband in 1991. The Brownings claim the goats were suffering from Johnes Disease and that as a result the rest of their herd became infected as well. They are claiming damages in the region of £800,000. Solicitors Reid Minty are acting ...

  • Home Office tackles inquiries overlap

    18-Mar-1997

    Coroners will no longer hold inquests into disaster cases which are subject to a public inquiry except in exceptional circumstances, under a proposal published by the Home Office last week.The proposal to end overlap between inquests and public inquiries, designed to shorten investigation times, is the key recommendation in a report prepared by a Government working group on disaster inquiries.As things stand, an inquest needs to be held into all deaths in major ...

  • In brief: Armed Forces gay ban to be challenged

    18-Mar-1997

    A blanket ban on homosexuals in the Armed Forces is to be challenged in the European Court of Justice. Mr Justice Lightman decided last week to refer the case of Terry Perkins, sacked from the Royal Navy despite an exemplary career, to the European Court. Perkins was represented by Stephen Grosz of Bindman & Partners. The ban will be challenged on the grounds that it breaches European laws on equal treatment. Last week's decision follows a recent European judgment which ruled that ...

  • In brief: Clifford Chance elects Williams as head

    18-Mar-1997

    Tony Williams has seen off Peter Charlton in the final round of voting among partners for the position of managing partner at Clifford Chance. Williams was seen as a well-equipped candidate with the right mix of skills for the job. "To be a successful managing partner, you need to have a wide understanding of Clifford Chance and the various markets in the world we are in," said the the outgoing ...

  • In brief: Ex-CPS lawyer happy with election result

    18-Mar-1997

    Former crown prosecutor Tony Engel received just under 40 per cent of the vote in the election for the secretary generalship of the top civil servants union, the Association of First Division Civil Servants. Engel mounted a surprise challenge against Jonathan Baume, the man chosen by the FDA's executive committee to succeed Baroness Liz Symons as head of the union. Engel, who said he was "vindicated" by the result, polled 1,631 of the vote, to Baume's tally of 2,528.

  • In brief: Full debate called for over court fees

    18-Mar-1997

    The Legal Action Group has called for a full parliamentary debate on the funding of court costs, after the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, bowed to a High Court ruling and said he would reinstate fee exemptions and remissions in the Supreme Court. The Lord Chancellor announced last week that he would not seek leave to appeal against the recent judgment, which ruled that he had acted unlawfully in abolishing fee exemption and remission at the same time as introducing large increases in ...

  • In brief: Law firm slammed over controversial bill

    18-Mar-1997

    Birmingham law firm James Beauchamp has been widely condemned for sending a £12,000 bill to the family of one of its solicitors who killed himself. A Law Society spokesman said there were no guidelines for practices in dealing with bills arising from the death of a staff member, although this was a highly unusual and regrettable case. According to his family, James Beauchamp solicitor Christopher Bryant killed himself because of the pressure of work. The firm later sent his family ...

  • In brief: New president for Newcastle Law society

    18-Mar-1997

    David Foster (pictured right), former senior partner of Newcastle firm Watson Burton, has been elected president of the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Law Society. The new vice-president is Iain Nicholson, senior partner of Iain Nicholson & Co in Ponteland. He is also a director and treasurer of the Association of Solicitor Investment Managers.

  • In brief: Red Nose day grabs law firms' attention

    18-Mar-1997

    Senior partners at Stephenson Harwood turned into waiters and waitresses to serve staff afternoon tea last week, as part of week-long series of events to raise money for Comic Relief. Other events included producing a firm recipe book, auctioning Eurostar vouchers and participating in a Comic Relief fun run. The practice hopes to raise about £4,000 for the cause from its activities. Staff ...

  • Information meetings pilots set up for unhappy couples

    18-Mar-1997

    SOLICITORS will be invited to help oversee five information meeting pilot projects which are being set up by the Government.Couples contemplating divorce will have to attend information meetings once the Family Law Act is implemented, probably in early 1999, although attendance at the pilots will be voluntary.The projects are being established in Birmingham and Coventry, East Anglia, Cardiff and Swansea, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire, and will be run by ...

  • Irish State Solicitor's Office under-funded, says report

    18-Mar-1997

    A management consultant's report has found that the Republic of Ireland's Chief State Solicitor's Office is so "seriously under-resourced" it is "not in a position to meet the demands placed on it".The hard-hitting report, commissioned by the Chief State Solicitor, Michael Buckley, and undertaken by Deloitte & Touche, warns against the grave risks of such an under-funded office.The report states the office, which acts as solicitors for the Republic's ...

  • Issuer and arraranger:never the twain shall meet

    18-Mar-1997

    Advising on the issue and trade of debt such as medium term notes and bonds is an increasingly lucrative part of the business of UK law firms Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters & Paines.In the US the ...

  • Law Lords to decide fate of jailed terrorist

    18-Mar-1997

    A man jailed for life by the Northern Ireland Crown Court in January 1994 after being convicted of murder has won the right to take his appeal against conviction to the House of Lords.Thomas Stewart Patrick McWilliams was jailed on 14 January 1994. His appeal against conviction was dismissed by Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Hutton and Lords Justice Carswell and Nicholson in the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal on 20 September 1996.Lords ...

  • Law Soc calls time on new commercial arm

    18-Mar-1997

    Law Society Services Ltd (LSS), an arm's-length Law Society company responsible for developing the society's commercial services, is to be disbanded, just two years after it was set up.The U-turn follows concerns that the company, which was responsible for running the Law Society's Gazette and the society's new business centre, was too independent from the Law Society.LSS took over the running of the income-generating activities of the society ...

  • Letter comes back to haunt Sayer

    18-Mar-1997

    Law Society deputy treasurer Robert Sayer has compiled a "wish-list" of changes he wants implemented at Chancery Lane as he comes closer to forging a deal for the presidency with Phillip Sycamore and Michael Mathews.But a similar two-page wish-list Sayer earlier compiled for Martin Mears has come back to politically embarrass him.Last Friday, Mears, who has announced he will be standing for president this summer and is angry at what he sees as misleading statements ...

  • Linklaters digs in on hospital deal

    18-Mar-1997

    A defunct Westminster graveyard put an unexpected spoke into what ought to have been a relatively easy £25m conveyancing transaction for Linklaters & Paines.Linklaters acted for the NHS in selling the former Westminster Hospital to developer Ballymore Properties, represented by Ashurst Morris Crisp, for ...

  • Litigation Disciplinary Tribunals 18/03/97

    18-Mar-1997

    Arthur Robert Thompson, 53, admitted 1968, practising at material times as AR Thompson, Buckingham, suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £1,544 costs. Allegations substantiated that he failed to comply with the decision of the Law Society Conduct Committee, failed to discharge personal liability for payment of counsel's fees, failed to reply to correspondence from Solicitors Complaints Bureau and Law Society, failed to deliver ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 18/03/97

    18-Mar-1997

    Havenhad v Jeffrey - Court of Appeal, 24 February 1997Claimant: Annie Havenhad, 86Incident: Road traffic accidentInjuries: Claimant suffered spinal injuries when she was knocked down by a taxi as she crossed Furnival Street, Sheffield, on 30 January 1995. The claimant is now capable of walking only a few steps in her own home with the aid of a Zimmer frame. She is effectively wheelchair-boundAward: Reduced on appeal ...

  • Litigation Recent Decisions 18/03/97

    18-Mar-1997

    Discharge of jury not necessary for impartialityDavid Gregory v United Kingdom (1997)ECHR (R Ryssdal, Thor Vilhjalmsson, F Golcuklu, F Matscher, A Spielmann, N Valticos, I Foighel, Sir John Freeland, AB Baka) 25/2/97Summary: European Court of Human Rights decision on whether discharge of jury was necessary to ensure fair trial after suggestions of racial bias.Application to the European Court of ...

  • Litigation Writs 18/03/97

    18-Mar-1997

    The owners of a historic country house in Lincolnshire who say their home life is being ruined by the noise of jet fighters from nearby RAF Wittering flying late into the night are taking the Ministry of Defence to the High Court. Darby and Catherine Dennis, of Walcot Hall, Barnack, Stamford, Lincolnshire, claim that the value of their property has dropped as a result of the noise of the jets. The writ says they have lived at Walcot Hall, a grade I listed ...

  • Manchester merger takes Georgian HQ

    18-Mar-1997

    Newly-merged Manchester sets Bridge Street Chambers and Hollins Chambers are to move into a historic Georgian townhouse built by the 18th century Corn Law reformer John Cobden.The new set, to be known as Cobden's House Chambers, will move into the townhouse, formerly Manchester's long-serving county court, in November, once extensive refurbishment has been completed.The merger will bring together the nine barristers of the chancery ...

  • Manchester merger talks break down

    18-Mar-1997

    Merger talks between Manchester commercial firms Cobbetts and Halliwell Landau have broken down following protracted negotiations.In public statements the firms said the decision not to go ahead with the merger, which would have created Manchester's largest commercial law firm, was amicable.But although they played down the significance of the move, at one stage they were optimistic it would succeed.Cobbetts managing partner Michael Shaw said ...

  • Masons' web vision focuses on the future

    18-Mar-1997

    It is difficult to imagine that anyone has escaped the hype surrounding the World Wide Web. Many organisations have invested time and money in setting up web sites and, although the take-up has been slow among law firms, a number of sites have got off the ground. Masons' is one of them.The first tranche of law firm sites followed the "traditional" web site model; in essence, duplicating the firm's marketing material. It seemed to us that ...

  • Media - trial by tabloid. Jury out on Mail's 'lynch-law'

    18-Mar-1997

    "The Daily Mail today takes the unprecedented step of naming five young men as murderers." So began the Valentine's Day edition, February 14 1997, under the headline "Murderers", with the challenge that if the newspaper was wrong the accused should sue the publishers for libel.This exceptional step on the part of the most popular of the mid-market tabloids was prompted by the verdict of an inquest jury that black teenager Stephen Lawrence had been unlawfully killed, ...

  • Mediation specialist beefs up its training

    18-Mar-1997

    Mediation service provider ADR Group has launched a new pupillage scheme designed to give mediators hands-on experience as part of their standard training.Believed to be the first of its kind, the scheme includes case advocacy and supervised mediation as part of its training package.General manager Randoll Meadows said that under the pupillage scheme solicitors who trained and received accreditation as mediators were also expected to act as advocates in two cases ...

  • More of an old banger

    18-Mar-1997

    Tulkinghorn (The Lawyer, 11 March 1997) implies that those attending the recent conference at the Richmond Hill Hotel were the wealthy owners of upmarket cars.As, regrettably, the owner of the BMW in question, I should point out that the poor old thing has its 10th birthday in April, 124,500 miles on its clock, a distinctly iffy gearbox and a value merely approaching, not reaching, four figures.When trying to move ...

  • Nabarros replaces ageing IT as part of modernisation plan

    18-Mar-1997

    Nabarro Nathanson is to spend £3m over the next 12 months on updating its computer systems across all its offices as part of its "Nabarros 2000" restructuring exercise.The firm is to replace its word processing software Wordperfect with Microsoft Word and its operating system OS/2 with Windows 95.At the same time it is introducing a more user-friendly e-mail system (Microsoft ...

  • New chief for NI Law Society

    18-Mar-1997

    John Bailie, former deputy director of the Northern Ireland Court Service, has been appointed chief executive and secretary of the Law Society of Northern Ireland.Bailie, a qualified solicitor, joined the public sector in 1985 and was appointed to the management board of the court service in 1992. He has now become the society's first chief executive."I feel privileged to be asked to serve the society in this capacity," he said.Looking to the ...

  • New Labour, new work opportunities?

    18-Mar-1997

    How will a change of government affect the legal profession? If the results of a survey gauging the impact of a Labour Party victory on the property industry is anything to go by, lawyers will almost certainly be among the major beneficiaries as the industry comes to terms with a spate of new legislation.The survey, conducted in December and January by the national property department of Pinsent Curtis, in association with Property Week, elicited more ...

  • Not a negligible legal practice

    18-Mar-1997

    The Professional Negligence Bar Association was founded in 1990 by Robin Stewart QC and Rupert Jackson QC as a Bar association for those who wished to develop their skills in this area, whether acting for plaintiffs or defendants.It now has some 570 members who do a range of work, the three largest categories of which are medical negligence, solicitors' negligence and surveyors'/valuers' negligence. There are other forms of negligence to be ...

  • Pair of consultancies set up to fill sets' management vacuum

    18-Mar-1997

    Two consultancies have been established to offer chambers independent practice management and marketing advice.Former director of chambers at Barnards Inn, Andrea Kennedy, has been undertaking freelance consultancy work since she left the set in October, while solicitor Vicky Thompson has just established a practice management and marketing service for the Bar offering a no-outcome, no-fee option.Victoria Thompson Associates maintains it will ...

  • Poised for the premiership

    18-Mar-1997

    As in any area of specialisation, junior barristers wanting to make a name for themselves gravitate towards the chambers that are seen as the stellar sets.At 2 Crown Office Row, headed by Rupert Jackson QC, Simon Monty is "careful and studious, and quickly gets to the heart of the problem", Ian Holtum also rates numerous mentions, and Paul Parker is "a young Turk who is excellent at pleadings". Fiona Sinclair is "competent, clever, efficient and able, does meticulous pleadings, ...

  • Poison-pen GP is cleared

    18-Mar-1997

    Personal injury solicitors Lesley Herbertson and Ann Alexander say they are appalled that the General Medical Council has decided to take no action against a doctor who sent them an obscene letter.A client of Herbertson's had made a complaint of alleged medical negligence against her GP, Dr Richard Mrozinski.In a scrawled letter to partners in Herbertson's Altrincham firm of Alexander Harris Solicitors, Dr Mrozinski made a series of personal and obscene ...

  • Practice management. Maximising your firm's profitability

    18-Mar-1997

    The recent recession has left many firms looking at lower levels of partner profit, despite the fact that partners and fee earners are working harder than ever.A minority of firms have seen a rapid growth in profits over this period. To understand how different firms achieve a range of profitability levels it is necessary to benchmark the profession.Firms with proper financial management systems prepare three- to five-year business plans in addition to an annual ...

  • Pro bono visionaries

    18-Mar-1997

    The growth of the independent pro bono group run by law firms continues apace. Now the group is preparing to hire a full-time director to get the venture off the ground. It is excellent to see solicitors taking such matters into their own hands independently from the Law Society, which has been unable to get to grips with the subject. The society is said to be supportive of the venture, but its lack of vision on this matter is startling.The pro bono group is planning ...

  • Property

    18-Mar-1997

    McGrigor Donald advised drug delivery company Core Group on its £23m flotation by placing on the London Stock Exchange. Pinsent Curtis acted for NM Rothschild & Sons which arranged the issue. Semple Fraser provided Rothschilds with Scottish property law advice.

  • Property

    18-Mar-1997

    Lovell White Durrant acted for property company Shaftesbury on its £63m debenture issue to re-finance part of the £90m it borrowed to buy the Carnaby Estate from Dutch property group Wereldhave. Linklaters & Paines advised Kleinwort Benson, the arranger and underwriter of the issue. It was the first issue to be completed in Crest, the paperless settlement system introduced last ...

  • Property

    18-Mar-1997

    Linklaters & Paines advised Great Universal Stores on the financing of a new £9bn joint venture with British Land to create the fifth or sixth largest property company in the UK. SJ Berwin advised British Land while Paisner & Co advised Great Universal on general corporate matters.

  • Property

    18-Mar-1997

    Boodle Hatfield advised International Group of ClubCorp on its acquisition of the Drift Golf Club, Surrey, from a private vendor, advised by Dare & Co.

  • Rave reviews expected as CPS pilot scheme report is compiled

    18-Mar-1997

    A REPORT on the CPS pilot project to install prosecutors in police stations - which is certain to be positive - is due this week to be submitted to Dame Barbara Mills, the Director of Public Prosecutions.The project, launched in January 1996, was designed to improve communications between the CPS and police to ensure that suspects received the most appropriate charges at the earliest stage of the prosecuting process.The pilot scheme, which took place in six police ...

  • Review suggests ending automatic right to appeal

    18-Mar-1997

    A time limit on oral arguments, major limits on the automatic right to appeal and fixed recoverable costs are among reforms being considered for the civil division of the Court of Appeal.The proposals, published last week in a consultation paper, were prepared by the review body charged with finding ways of improving efficiency in the court. The body includes Master of the Rolls Lord Woolf.The paper suggests appeals to the court should not be an automatic further ...

  • Rising stars in the regions

    18-Mar-1997

    As one leading solicitor comments, counsel should have a proper grounding and know how to win a trial from the outset.For junior counsel of this calibre, 5 Stone Buildings’ Andrew Simmonds, Christopher Tidmarsh and Alastair Norris all rate a number of mentions. Also mentioned are Michael Sullivan at 5 Bell Yard, Christopher Parker and Edmund Cullen at 7 Stone Buildings, headed by Charles Aldous QC, and Simon King at 9 Bedford Row.And for chancery-related ...

  • SFLA predicts bright future

    18-Mar-1997

    Family lawyers have a bright future as long as they adapt to change, according to David Salter, the new head of the of the Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA).Salter, a partner in Addleshaw Booth & Co, took over as SFLA chair at the group's annual conference last week.The former SFLA vice-chair helped formulate the group's policies towards the Family Law Act and he has also chaired the association's procedure and pensions committees.

  • Tactics for surviving into the next millennium

    18-Mar-1997

    LAW firms will have to hire out their specialist support services such as IT and finance as part of a fundamental change in the way they operate, delegates assembled at a conference in Amsterdam were told last week.Wendy London, managing director of New Zealand law consultancy Infotech, told the Rethinking the Law Firm conference that firms could make money by hiring out specialist staff and services at times when they were not being fully used by the firms.She ...

  • The best silks, Bar none

    18-Mar-1997

    The professional negligence Bar encompasses counsel from the commercial Bar to the Chancery Bar as well as other disciplines.Those named in this feature do not make up an exhaustive list but are based on the subjective recommendations of leading professional negligence and professional indemnity practitioners (and are to be used in addition to those named in 1996).At 2 Crown Office Row, headed by Rupert Jackson QC, the set head combines "consummate ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Robert Webb QC

    18-Mar-1997

    Robert Webb QC was born in Kent on 4 October 1948. He is now head of chambers at 5 Bell Yard. What was your first job?Working on a milk round on a cart drawn by a horse called Dolly.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£872 in year one (1972).What would you have done if you hadn't become a lawyer?Produced plays - and tried to write novels.

  • The top 10 cases of 1996

    18-Mar-1997

    1 South Australia Asset Management Corp v York Montague [1996] 3 WLR 87.In a landmark decision, the House of Lords overturned the Court of Appeal’s judgment in BBL v Eagle Star Insurance Co [1995] 2 All ER 769. Lord Hoffmann said the level of damages payable by a negligent valuer will depend on the scope of his duty of care.Where the valuer assumed a wide duty (for example, to provide advice on whether to lend), he must pay all the lender’s losses, including ...

  • Time called on 18-meal requirement

    18-Mar-1997

    The dinner bell is tolling for the 400-year-old tradition that requires would-be barristers to attend 18 meals before they can join the Bar.The Inns of Courts are to reduce the number of compulsory dinners from 18 to 12 and students can fulfil their requirements by involving themselves in other educational or social activities away from the dining table.Under the new rules, attendance at training sessions organised by the Inns will count as attending a "dinner".

  • Top set turns headhunter to lure silks

    18-Mar-1997

    Hardwicke Buildings, one of the Bar's largest sets, has signalled the arrival of more aggressive recruiting techniques after luring top silks Nicholas Stewart QC and George Pulman QC to the chambers.Traditionally barristers have switched sets because of internal problems or dissatisfaction with the clerk, but in order to boost the number of QCs at the chambers, the set targeted both silks and asked them to join up.Pulman, a recorder and a former member of ...

  • Trolley rage becalmed by steering committee

    18-Mar-1997

    Peace has been restored to the Royal Courts of Justice after a potentially nasty spat over the trolley handling skills of barristers' clerks was settled amicably.The Court Service has been unhappy about the document trolleys used by clerks and the damage they have been doing to the historic woodwork and stone steps.The service even threatened to blacklist chambers whose clerks handled their trolleys recklessly while cruising the corridors of justice. Just ...

  • Tupe ruling could help govt lawyers

    18-Mar-1997

    THE NEW European Court of Justice ruling on Tupe could make local authority in-house departments more competitive against tendering bids from private firms, according to a leading employment lawyer.Dr John McMullen, who heads Pinsent Curtis's employment practice, said the ruling that workers' rights are not automatically protected under a changeover of service contracts would mean that bidders for legal services would, unlike council departments, be forced to build ...

  • UK lawyers warned on US anti-money laundering laws

    18-Mar-1997

    UK lawyers face the increasing danger of becoming entangled in anti-money laundering suits as US regulators pursue aggressive new tactics, according to former Fraud Squad detective Rowan Bosworth-Davies.Bosworth-Davies, who now specialises in financial crime at Titmuss Sainer Dechert, said he had evidence that US prosecutors had used undercover investigators to track down money launderers in ...

  • Wanted: your traffic hell

    18-Mar-1997

    I wondered if any of your London-based readers could help with a documentary LWT is producing about traffic congestion in the capital.We are trying to identify the worst stretches of road in London for commuters and are looking for people to record their journey times for a week.If you can help or have any gridlock horror stories, then please call Tim Miller on 0171 261 3792.Tim MillerLWTLondon

  • Where's the evidence?

    18-Mar-1997

    Since when have lawyers based their advice on perception rather than evidence?Even the most junior articled clerk would not be expected to work on the basis of public perception, so why should such senior solicitors as the chair of the Courts and Legal Services Committee and the chair of the Criminal Law Committee base their submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee on such a flimsy framework?Their contributions did nothing to enhance the standing ...

  • Withers reveals poor support for new company

    18-Mar-1997

    City firm Withers has criticised UK companies for not investing in hi-tech start-up companies.A survey commissioned by the firm showed that of the few respondent companies that had engaged in corporate venturing (investing risk capital in other companies), very few had invested in the start-up stage, where investment is most needed, or in hi-tech companies.Withers corporate partner ...